Monday 27 August 2007

Ups and downs

This week has brought two rejections and two acceptances. Funnily enough, the rejections seem to carry more weight. A small American publisher and a small Welsh publisher have rejected me. A large American publisher has accepted a poem - though I'm not really all that sure if I want it published. A short story of mine and an article have been published in an anthology for students learning English by the Free University of Moldova, with funding form the British Embassy, so that gives it some status even if it doesn't pay me anything.
I went on a training course at Lightning Source last week, and it begs the question of whether one should self-publish or not. I'm even thinking of forming my own imprint. The big problem will of course be the marketing.
I do have two more novels to market then now. The temptations is to just let them go straight to Willow Bank. Perhaps I'll talk to them later in the week.

Tuesday 21 August 2007

Narrowing the field - quality, not quantity?

At one time I used to be up for anything in my writing. I'm now getting much more specific. I can't believe that when I first started, I entered every competition going. I was a full time teacher, a Head of Department to boot, was just about as productive as I ma now. However, two things now occurs to me:
  1. I'd just rather not spend time on writing I don't want to do. There are some other things I'd rather do than writing that doesn't interest me.
  2. There's a feeling that the essential writing I ought to be doing is watered down by other stuff.

And should I really still be watching episodes of Neighbours? Oh, go on, why not?

Sure, I can dash off another language learning book, and it might be a bit of bread and butter work, but is it getting in the way of developing the craft in the areas I really want to get into?

Monday 20 August 2007

Editing processes

Veiled or Behind the Veil or Beyond the Veil - or whatever I end up calling it, is almost finished. It's a YA novel. Just two more read throughs, probably in hard copy, and it will start going out into the wide world.
I have a list for editing, which goes from the general, to the precise. The first check is to see that the structure works, the last is a general copy edit. All sorts of things come in between: character, dialogue, showing not telling, pace, emotional closeness and then there are some genre-specific items. Like do the characters look like young adults in a YA novel?
I normally print out the first, the last and the last but one draft, unless I'm going on a train journey, and then it's hard copy to go with me, whichever editing stage I'm at.
I find it best to look for one thing at a time. However, I'll often notice something form a category other than the one I'm currently editing. I've got up a list of fourteen criteria now, and I'm thinking of cutting back a bit, or maybe doing a couple of things in one go.
Then the comes the problem of starting something new and sending this one out.

Friday 17 August 2007

The Business of Writing

How should we spend our time? You have to have enough for food, shelter, warmth, and clothing. How do you do that if you also have to spend time writing?

I’m using Lotus organizer to try and rationalize this all. However, I haven’t got EARN MONEY as a number one priority. But I do programme in all of my marketing strategies, and I even program in thinking out more if I’m not earning enough. I constantly try to go for the big, mega-earning opportunities which pull huge amounts of money in quickly so that I can then concentrate my time on writing. And then I sometimes wonder whether I shouldn't be concentrating my time on making the writing pay. Trouble with the latter is, that sometimes seems even more of a sacrifice of one’s art than even spending time on something totally unrelated to writing.

I’m actually pretty pleased that I’ve found a regular “day” job that will bring me enough to supply the basic needs. The job totally relates to writing and contrasts with it as well. I shall be teaching Creative Writing and English Literature at university level. I found when I did that last year that it actually enhanced my own critical / editorial process. I enjoyed the company too.

Actually, I really can’t wait to start my new post at the University of Salford. It’s almost a shame that it is delayed a little by a family holiday.